I’ve always talked about how London is a hub for quirky cinema experiences and although I’m planning to do a post rounding up some of these for this summer, today I’m blogging about my recent Drive in Film Club experience.
As usual, I haven’t been paid or prompted to rave about this particular experience, unless you count how much fun I had as a prompt to write about it! So basically Drive in Film Club is a take on that classic American drive in movie experience – y’know the ones I mean, as seen in Grease and other popular American movies. It’s something I’ve always wanted to experience myself so I was chuffed when I found out there was a chance to do that without, y’know, actually going to America.It takes place at Alexandra Palace in London (I tried very hard not to point out and shout about the vague area where myself and my favourite rockstars once got drunk. I failed.)
Drive in Film Club is by the same people behind Rooftop Film Club which is something else I’d like to get around to trying. I suppose I kind of stumbled across Drive in Film Club by accident really – I’d been researching quirky film experiences for the blog and had come across another drive in cinema experience but wasn’t really sure if it was still running and besides, it wasn’t so local.
So the Internet must have taken note of my google searches and an advert popped up on my Facebook advertising Mad Max: Fury Road at Drive in Film Club. I wasted no time in booking tickets; £22 for a car, regardless of how many people are inside.Keeping in mind that an average car can seat five people, that could cost as little as £4.40 per person.
Such a bargain.
Now that I’m driving, I can book stuff like this all the time without having to check if I can get there or not, so that’s a really lovely feeling.
When Tuesday rolled around I took an early leave from work just because I didn’t know how the traffic would be and also because I’d never driven to London before, since passing my test I haven’t had much time to go much further than work and back really.
But driving there was fine. And home too, especially since I at last braved the motorway.
Upon arriving, our tickets were checked, we were handed a couple of menus, one of which was for the hot dog van (!) and the other for food you can order to your car window, along with further details of the experience and what to expect. Then we were shown to our car space which was sort of near the front but obviously it didn’t matter because we could see over the cars anyway.
We parked up and immediately ran to the hot dog van – well we didn’t run but y’know, rushed, because I love hot dogs. The hot dog van was Popdogs, who we’d actually stumbled across at Winterville just before Christmas and I ordered the delicious Clinton’s Lovechild. It was the perfect menu for a drive in cinema.
Then we headed back to the car and settled down for the movie.
The whole process and running of the event was spot on and I couldn’t fault it one bit. From just the right amount of tickets being released so that it was busy but not too busy (so we still felt looked after), to the ease of simply flicking on your hazard lights mid-movie for someone to skate over with popcorn, drinks and snacks for you – it was just great and ran so smoothly.
I particularly loved that for the audio to the movie, you had to tune in through your car radio – so genius! It would be a shame if an event like this had to stop because of loud music and such for people living nearby but this simply wasn’t an issue.
It was without a doubt worth driving to London for and I just thought it’s such a unique but affordable idea. I love big nights out with my friends now and then but with something as fun but relaxing at this, I’d happy pay £4.40 to drive down and have the experience again every weekend.
And of course, there was no faffing about with getting trains, a taxi to the train station and then trying to find the venue because, well obviously, it was a drive in so you needed your car. But saying that, a friend had met us there as he’d been in London that day already and they were happy to let him just jump in my car.
Even on a Tuesday night it was just right.
My friends and I are already looking at booking ourselves in to another showing. There’s also a huge variety of movies too from classics like Labyrinth (a must do), Grease sing-a-long and even more recent films like Mad Max obviously (I’ve seen this a million times now so admittedly spent half the movie explaining to my friends what was going on, proclaiming my love for the crazy guy who plays guitar atop a speeding truck and murmuring inappropriate comments about Tom Hardy beneath my breath).
Without a doubt I’d recommend this – for dates, groups of friends or even family. The feel of the whole evening can be changed from romantic or just hilarious depending on the type of movie you pick, so there really is something for everyone.
*Photos provided by Rooftop Cinema (apart from the hot dog one) with permission.